How can we be effective ambassadors for Jesus Christ? This has been on my mind a lot lately. We are called to represent the Kingdom of God, to reflect HIS official position. But I have struggled with how. Obviously we need to be good examples, but I wanted to know more of how to share and what to say. It's especially difficult with close family and friends. I don't want to put anyone off with a sermon. I had an Aunt who did that to my family even though we were Christians and regularly attended church. She would deliver sermons to prove that her way was better than our way. I can speak from experience that that was NOT an effective way to be an ambassador for Christ. So I've been researching this topic, reading lots of different articles and sermons. Writing is a good way for me to put new information together so that I can live it out. However, I also have a deep-seated need to share what I've learned with others. It must be the teacher in me!
First in my mind, as ambassadors we need to be sensitive so that people listen to our message. Rather than scaring them with the horror of hell, encourage with the love of God. Arguing with people is never an effective tactic, nor is pounding them with their sins. Instead we should share how deep a love God has for us, that he gave His only Son up to suffering and death to save us. We need to convey how wonderful a relationship with God is and what a powerful effect it has had on our lives.
When we have our minds and hearts set on sensitivity to others, we need to be ready and alert for opportunities to represent Christ. Short interactions with others can be very powerful. Even small acts of kindness can open doors of understanding to others. We don't need to be armed with sermons for everyone we meet. We are dependent on God's power. We must use our best efforts together with God’s power in order to share the good news. We need to pray daily for opportunities to be ambassadors and for the Holy Spirit to guide us in what to say, and when to be quiet.
When we think of Jesus and His disciples sharing the Good News with others, what comes to mind? Like the disciples, we need to demonstrate the characteristics that Jesus taught such as kindness, self control, compassion, love, patience, gentleness, forgiveness, and humility to name a few. Be patient, don’t quarrel, listen in order to understand, then gently, respectfully engage people in conversation.
Jesus taught by asking questions. That is the ultimate model for us to follow. People immediately feel more positive when we are interested enough to ask them questions. If we are engaging with someone new, it is vitally important that we establish a relationship with them. Even with close family and friends, a good way to open up a channel of communication is to ask questions. We can follow Jesus' example by asking personal, meaningful questions. This shows our interest in THEM and gives us information about how they feel and where they are right now in terms of their spiritual growth or openness to more information.
We should obviously have knowledge of God's Word. We need to be able to share what God's Word has to say about different topics. We should also be ready to find answers if we are asked something we don't know. If we are not regular readers of God's Word, how can we share it?
Humility. Jesus spoke often of being humble. That can be a difficult concept in today's society. As ambassadors for Christ, we need to be humble, not arrogant because we know we are right. We must remember that our understanding of truth is fallible. We must not press a point beyond what we know or what evidence shows.
In the scripture passage above, two words popped out at me. I wanted to define them more so that I could have more clarity and understanding. An ambassador is a respected official acting as a representative of a nation. Sent to a foreign land, the ambassador’s role is to reflect the official position of the sovereign body that gave him authority. Foreign land? Yes! Christians are definitely in a foreign land here on earth. In John 18: 3-6 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
The second term is ministry of reconciliation. This is the work believers have been given to do and the message they to pass on to others. That message is that you can have a restored relationship with God through Jesus. Sin prevents us from having a relationship with God, but through God's grace, Jesus' sacrifice on the cross paid for our sins and brought harmony to our relationship with God. Jesus reconciled us to God. Verse 19 (above) says, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ. He uses us to tell the world that they can be reconciled to God through Christ. In this way, we become “Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
Christians are in a foreign land here on earth. Christ called us to share His foreign kingdom with others. Like Mission Impossible, our mission, if we choose to accept it, is that people can have a restored relationship with God through Jesus. Unlike Mission Impossible, if we are caught by the enemy while in foreign territory, we will never be disavowed. God will NEVER forsake us. Even though we are living on sinful, foreign territory, surrounded and persecuted by the enemy, God will never leave us. He is always with us. We must remain steadfast as Ambassadors for Christ. The best way to sum up how to be a more effective ambassador for Christ comes from Ann Graham Lotz. "I want to let Christ radiate from within me, His joy sparkling from my eyes, His love lighting up my face."